Frustrated official: No money for U.S. 1 improvements

U.S. 1 at Occoquan Road in North Woodbridge.

Questions are mounting about the widening of U.S. 1 between Stafford and Prince William counties. And they’re coming before an influx of federal workers is expected to relocate to Quantico Marine Corps Base in 2011.

The road is currently being widened from four to six lanes in Triangle, between Joplin and Brady’s Hill roads, as part of the planned Triangle Village near the National Museum of the Marine Corps. Improvements to the small stretch of road are being paid for by Prince William County taxpayers.

But it seems there won’t be any federal help when it comes to additional road improvements for the BRAC relocation to Quantico.

“Keep in mind… 60 million of taxpayers’ money has been put into Route 1 from Joplin to Brady’s Hill. That took a total of 16 years to come to fruition, and that is going to be completed next summer or fall,” said Prince William Board Supervisor Maureen S. Caddigan, R-Dumfries. “Prince William County has done more than its fair share, so at the BRAC meeting, when all of those people come to talk and listen to us…our last one was very discouraging because we were told very politely ‘we’re going to put you on notice: we don’t have any money.’ And so I really don’t know how we are going to widen from Fuller Road [in Stafford], which has been approved by both counties, which is going to cost two and a half million, and now we are told Prince William County is going to have to match the funds to widen the road in Stafford County.”

Last month, Prince William propositioned the federal government for $2.5 million for a study to explore widening U.S. 1 between Triangle and Boswell’s Corner in Stafford County. If the money is approved and the study completed, it should take about $25 million to widen that portion of the road, officials said.

Even if it is widened, problems will remain on U.S. 1  in North Woodbridge.

A long rang plan calls for the widening the road to six lanes between Triangle and the Occoquan River by 2030. But even if it is widened, six lanes may not be enough, transportation planners say.

The road may need to be widened to as much as 12-lanes at some points to accommodate all the new BRAC traffic, planners say.

“We have come to the conclusion that continuing to widen the road is not the solution,” said Pat Thomas, with Prince William County Planning Office. “You end up with a ceiling-less tunnel, so that’s not the solution.”

The recommendation comes after the county last month approved its North Woodbridge comprehensive plan, which will govern the development of the 160 acres between Occoquan Road and Annapolis Way.

At 12 lanes the road would be wider than Interstate 95, which runs parallel to it, and would consume more homes, businesses, would require sound walls and would make the area pedestrian unfriendly, said Thomas.

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